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PTE listening: strategies for answering multiple-choice questions

The Listening section of the Pearson Test of English (PTE) assesses your ability to understand spoken English in various contexts. One common question type in the PTE Listening section is Multiple-Choice questions, where you are required to select the correct answer option from a set of choices. In this blog, we will explore effective strategies for answering Multiple-Choice questions in the PTE Listening section to help you improve your overall score.

Focus on the Instructions:

Before the audio begins, carefully read the instructions for the Multiple-Choice question. Understand what specific information you need to listen for and what the question is asking. Pay attention to any keywords or phrases that indicate the main focus or purpose of the question.

Preview the Answer Choices:

Quickly scan through the answer choices to get an idea of what options may be presented. This preview helps you familiarize yourself with the range of choices and can provide context for understanding the upcoming audio. However, avoid spending too much time on the answer choices as the audio will start soon.

Predict the Answer:

Based on the instructions and the information presented in the question, try to predict the possible answer before listening to the audio. This prediction helps focus your attention and makes it easier to identify the correct answer during the listening process.

Listen Attentively:

During the audio playback, listen attentively to the speaker or speakers. Maintain focus and concentration, taking note of important details, keywords, and any information that relates to the question. Use active listening techniques, such as visualizing the information or repeating key points in your mind, to enhance comprehension.

Take Notes:

While listening to the audio, take notes on key details or keywords that may help you identify the correct answer. These notes can serve as a reference point when selecting the answer later. Focus on capturing essential information rather than trying to transcribe everything word-for-word.

Be Aware of Distractions:

Be aware of potential distractions, such as background noise or irrelevant information in the audio. Stay focused on the main message or relevant details that relate directly to the question. Pay attention to the speaker's tone, emphasis, or any signals that may indicate the correct answer.

Analyze Answer Choices:

After listening to the audio, carefully analyze each answer choice. Compare the choices to the information you heard in the audio and refer back to your notes if necessary. Eliminate any options that are clearly incorrect or do not align with the content of the audio.

Use Process of Elimination:

Utilize the process of elimination to narrow down your choices. Cross out answer options that are irrelevant or contradict the information presented in the audio. This strategy increases your chances of selecting the correct answer from the remaining choices.

Consider Contextual Clues:

Consider the context of the audio and any additional contextual clues that may help you identify the correct answer. Pay attention to the relationships between different pieces of information, speaker intentions, or the overall purpose of the audio. This contextual understanding can guide you towards the correct answer.

Trust Your Gut:

If you have followed the previous steps and are still uncertain about the answer, trust your initial instinct or intuition. Sometimes your subconscious mind can pick up on cues or subtle details that you may not consciously recognize. Avoid overthinking and second-guessing yourself, as this may lead to choosing the wrong answer.


Effective strategies for answering Multiple-Choice questions in the PTE Listening section involve careful listening, previewing the answer choices, making predictions, taking notes, analyzing the answer choices, using the process of elimination, considering contextual clues, and trusting your instincts. By applying these strategies and practicing active listening, you can enhance your accuracy and efficiency in answering Multiple-Choice questions, ultimately improving your overall score in the PTE Listening section. Remember to listen attentively, stay focused, and apply these strategies consistently during your preparation and on the test day.